The GAZ Chaika (Russian: Ча́йка), which means gull, is a luxury automobile from the Soviet Union made by GAZ (Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, translated as Gorky Automobile Plant (Russian: ГАЗ or Го́рьковский автомоби́льный заво́д)). The vehicle is one step down from the ZIL-111 limousine. Chaika production consisted of two generations, the M13 of 1959 to 1981 and the M14 of 1977 to 1988.
The GAZ M13 debuted in 1958 and exhibited internationally at the Brussels motor show. It was produced from 1959 to 1981, with a total of 3,179 built. The M13 was powered by a 195-hp SAE gross 5.5 L V8 and driven through a push-button automatic transmission of a similar design to the Ford Cruise-o-Matic unit. It was offered as a saloon (GAZ 13), limousine (GAZ 13A), and four-door cabriolet (GAZ 13B) with an electrohydraulic top. The cabriolet was made in 1961 and 1962 for official parades. A station wagon version was also offered as hearse or ambulance.
The vintage 1950s-style M13 was succeeded by the more modern Chaika M14 introduced in 1977 (although production of both versions overlapped by several years). Although visually modern and fitted with the latest electronic luxury features, the M14 was in fact built around the drivetrain and undercarriage of the older model. Chaikas were mainly used by local governors, as the more luxurious ZiL was exclusively for heads of state, but in some cases it found its way up to the top, as it did in Cuba where it was used by Fidel Castro.
- Thompson, Andy. Cars of the Soviet Union (Haynes Publishing, Somerset, UK, 2008), p.69.
- Thompson, p.70.
- Thompson, p.211.
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